tv [untitled] May 18, 2013 5:00am-5:31am PDT
really living museum. the botanical gardens support for the garden has included building and operating the hellonen crocker library and funding the botanical garden master plan that was completed as a submaster plan to the golden gate park master plan and providing important educational programss for youth and outreach to visitors. also importantly paying for an 11th gardener each year at the gardens to help us maintain it in world-class condition. and then providing critical curatorial and plant collection development support to assist the department in keeping that living museum thriving. most recently, the botanical garden support has included developing plans and beginning
capital development program to build a new nursery at the site, which will be a shared-use nursery and will help us, again, keep that world-class living museum thriving for generations to come. that is approximately a $12 million capital campaign that the botanical garden society is completing and if all goes well with that, they are hoping to or we are hoping to begin construction on nursery in january of 2014. and the commission did approve those plans and the board of supervisors has approved the plans and gifts and we're waiting to finish up the capital campaign and break ground out there early next year. since 2002, the botanical garden society has been leasing certain spaces at the county fair building from the department under a lease agreement.
they have also for the last three fiscal years, administered the non-resident botanical garden for the department and they have done so under a grant agreement that the department signed with them in 2009. current lease and management agreement that is before you would bring all of these functions under one agreement between the city and our trusted partner. the initial lease term would be ten years. there would be two potential ten-year extensions. the use -- the permitted uses would be numerous, but they would include those elements that we spoke about before, outreach, operating the library, operating the visitor center and bookstore, collecting on behalf of the department the admission fees, as well as the educational programs and the curatorial programs would all be permitted and required uses.
the premises are a sort of a varied number of premises within both the county fair building and the botanical garden itself. they include space in the county fair building for offices, the library, the bookstore, and adjacent area to the bookstore for plant sales. and then once the nursery is completed, there would be shared use of that nursery in the botanical garden society would be permitted to a certain portion of that nursery with the remaining portion being used by our gardening staff to develop the plant collections. there is a base rent of $100 per year as part of this lease and management agreement. and then as it relates to their
management of non-resident botanical garden visitor fee, they will be collecting all of those fees on behalf of the city and the department. there is a reimbursement schedule outlined in the lease that would detail how those revenues are reimbursed to the various parties. the first expense would be repaying the society for their costs in implementing the fee. so the staffing costs, any infrastructure that they need, telephone lines to process credit card receipts, anything of like, those would be the first items paid, so to speak, with the admissions fees. the next $250,000 would go to the department to support our activitis at the garden. there is a one-time cost of $75,000 to reimburse the
botanical garden society for their first-year costs in implementing the fee, which we have not yet to-date be able to fully reimburse them for. and then as soon as that $75,000 were repaid, it would no longer be an obligation and we would go to the next expenditure or the next allocation, which is $250,000 to the society to support their operations, their educational and outreach operations at the department. again, the society is an organization with over a $2.5 million budget annually; that is spent solely supporting our activities at the garden. they spend hundreds of thousands of hour each year on curatorial support and they spend hundreds of thousands of dollars each year on outreach and educational programs for visitors to the botanical
garden and the department as part of this agreement wants to provide them support in these activitis that they are doing really on behalf and as a city operating if modern-day california we are not and to make as much an investment in this property as we would perhaps like to. the last allocation would be that all remaining funds are deposited into a botanical garden improvement fund. again, this idea of creating a dedicated maintenance account for our facilities, especially a world-class living museum that is only going to stay thriving with continued investment. we think it's really important over the last six decades, we have working with the botanical garden society built a tremendous facility. we believe that with this
agreement and also especially with this continued dedicated ongoing funding source for the garden, that we can actually improve and enhance it and only make it more of an asset for san francisco, and its visitors. i did want to discuss briefly the non-resident visitor fee. many of you may recall we proposed this in 2009 and it was approved by the board of supervisors and when it was originally proposed they included a sunset provision, such that it would sunset in 2013, if it were not approved or if it were not reauthorized by the board of supervisors as part of our annual budget submission we have submitted legislation that would ask for that reauthorization and remove the sunset provision. and we are hopeful that the
board should choose to continue to support this reauthorization, fee we think has proven to be very successful and providing revenue to support the botanical garden and our extensive maintenance needs out there. so with that i would be happy to answer any questions. >> let me ask one question, will that fee come before the board at the same time that they consider the lease? >> we are hoping to do that. >> thank you. let's get public comment. >> we have several cards and i'm going to call off a few names. earnest ames, laurie letterman. [ reading speakers' names ] if you could please come up. >> good morning, my my name is
ernest ing and i am here to voice my support for the lease management for the botanical garden society here. i have been a volunteer at golden gate park for 25 years and started as a volunteer for an organization, which is now called san francisco park alliance. i have been a dosant at the japanese tea garden and i'm currently a dosant at the botanical garden and the conservatory of flowers. i am on the board there. i think it doesn't take very long for anybody who does any work in the park or in the park to know that the park is a success, because of the non-profits and the caudry of volunteers that they have here. one of the outstanding examples would be the botanical garden society, working in partnership with the botanical garden here. not only that we have the
library, and the bookstore, but we have a very extensive dosant program, which i am involved in. and we'll come to a table and listen to some aspect of the park. this is very important work and not only is the society helping to maintain this beautiful place, but to educate people and to help in the conservation of the work of the city and the rec and park department here.
thank you. >> next speaker. >> my name is laurie, a 38-year resident of san francisco and i have a number of concerns about the lease with the san francisco botanical garden society and these were submitted to commission by letter yet yesterday. i recognize that they are deeply imbedded and whether there is a lease agreement for mou. first and foremost the fee and id requirements continue to be a barrier to public access that i witness regularly. the issue of the fees will come under the purview of the befored board of supervisors.
this builds in a class and income is to what should be a truly public place. it's, but one glaring aspect of the creeping prioritization that cumulative represents a dramatic loss to the general public of access to golden gate park and a number of neighborhood parks and facilities. the lease document refer to the san francisco botanical garden formerly known as the striding arboretum. this would be a significant break with history and disconnect the current facility from its on or before and special values a arboretum and even the botanical garden name-- in fact, it's the striving arboretum that is being leased and should be noted that the extraordinary collection of trees is what makes the setting so very special and what sets it apart from many other botanical
garden. i can only guess at the motivation for this conscious and deliberate break with history, but sadly i can only come up with bad reasons. i urge you to modify the document, so that it does not wipe out this piece of our history, preserve the name striving arboretum and retaining the name serves an educational purpose and historical connection with the facility. after seeing the fiasco of the city's agreement with america's cup, that thanks to sloppy, or perhaps deliberate drafting, leaves the city on the hook for $20 million; this document neat needs some careful review and editing. please do not approve it today until the editing happens. thank you. >> mary.
>> i have lived and worked in the golden gate park arboretum since 1969 and i also have problems with the language of the lease agreement. that it acknowledge explicitly that the san francisco botanical garden was built to serve in many ways. the mission of the strybing arboretum and botanical garden
is the california and san francisco bay area to provide educational and interpretative educations that promote public awareness of plants and environment and here is the crucial, offer a place of reflection, enjoyment and relaxation for the public. i also have read that -- [speaker not understood] to make it less accessible to is to further ereed what fredrick alstead felt was essential for democracy and space available to all regardless of economic status. so acknowledging that the garden is a place for the public and fees are just completely damaging and
contrary to that spirit. so first, to acknowledge that it is not a living museum. it is a place for public enjoyment, reflection and relaxation. >> thank you. >> dennis didand we have sue anne. [speaker [ reading speakers' names ] >> good morning, commissioners. i am a native san franciscan and today representing take back our park a coalition of advocates and a group that waged a partially successful battle to limit the fees or reduce the fees or wipe out the fees at the arboretum. let me spell something that i think was not very clear about the name. the name of the garden should be -- and the name in the lease -- throughout the lease should be the san francisco
botanical garden at strybing arboretum. that is the name of the society that you are about to lease to that is called the san francisco botanical garden society at strybing arboretum. that was the name as i understand was adopted by the parks department in 2004, from the original name. we have submitted the proposed changes we would like to see in the language of the draft lease agreement yesterday and i want to address a couple of points, but i want to say upfront, that we still are unambiguously opposed to any fee to walk in our public fees and that is 55 acres at 5.5% of our largest crown park. there should be no fee to walk in that park. i want to also point out that
in last two and a half years, you guys have given the san francisco botanical garden society $725,000 to help pay for the administering of the fee. so the fee itself and whether or not it really produces the kind of money that was suggested in the cover letter that nick kinsey said, $1.3 million, i'm not sure that is accurate , but i'm not going to challenge that today. i want to talk about on page 14 in section f, both single dot i and double dot i, i want the language and i think a lot of people including t bop and kaf want to see that it's explicit in this agreement that there is no commercial cellular towers, no commercial antennas in the garden and no commercial billboards, signs or advertising kiosks in the
garden. last thing i want to make is the hours of operation. we urge three changes. one, that there be free entry from 7:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., like there used to be. very few people come in there that will pay fees, but people from the community would go in there and i was one of them we urge free entry at the last hour day. the last entry hour there may be people that come -- may i make my last point? >> please do. >> thank you. we also urge that you add this to the section. any extended evening hours shall be open without charge to the public and that the public shall not be excluded from enjoying the garden premises while a private party is convened. that is to say while private party is going on, because they are going on all the time, the public should still be able to walk in the garden and should not become the exclusive 55 acres of the garden society. thank you very much for your
consideration. >> thank you. >> david. >> good morning. david. i just want to point out here on here ecificly - i am here specifically to talk about the lease agreement and going through the 70 pages of it, to add some possible amendments to it, that i feel protect the garden and its purpose there. one is that in regards to the sublease and i will say it's on page 40-17, that basically the wording there is saying that the botanical society become essentially the land managers at that point and it doesn't go through back to the whole process of what the lease is and being vetted with a public
hearing or a commission. so we feel that that sublease clause should be deleted. and and going along the lines of advertising, that there are sections, page 58, it's about vending machines in the garden. again we would like the garden to be kept in the way it's been kept in its pristine forms and not have machines that advertise things being visible in the garden. there is obvious language for bringing foodservice in of some kind of so. so i guess that is what goes on in lots of places now. that is not the objection.and
also to rereiterate something that nick kinsey was saying and yes, the botanical society spends hundreds of thousands for their programs and the city gives them a grant. so that was my understanding to clarify that in the presentation. and again, i still strongly feel that this is not the time for the fees and i have to say that people have worked very hard advocating for other ways and i hope that continues on and is recognized as our efforts. thank you. >> thank you. so we have sue
anne; [speaker not understood] >> thank you very much. i am sue anne, executive director of san francisco botanical garden society, and i am here to speak in support of the lease and management agreement and our continuing partnership with the city and the recreation and park department and i want to start by thanking president buell and thanking general manager ginsburg for also serving as auctioneers at our big event and helping us reach record-breaking results. so thank you very much. there are a number of trustees here today, and docents and other supporters and i would just like to ask them quickly to stand. so that you can all see. thank you very much. our city's botanical garden has become one of the most
important botanical gardens in the world. our magnolia collection is recognized as the most significant for conservation purposes outside of china. we have three cloud forest collections and only botanical garden in the world to have this. our community should be proud of the almost 60-year partnership that makes the botanical garden and its plant collection and its garden displays and its programs possible. the botanical garden society exists for only one purpose, to support the botanical garden. our mission is to build communities of support for the garden and to cultivate the bond between people and plants. the botanical garden society's annual budget has ranged from approximately $2.5 to $3 million in recent years, depending primarily on the extent of the improvements within the botanical garden that we are funding. we fund and staff all of the botanical garden's education and community outreach activities. these are with privately raised
funds at this point, and we spend more than $730,000 a year in direct expenditures for this purpose. these programs include our youth education program, in which we serve 10,000 children a year, most from san francisco public schools. our library, which is northern california's most comprehensive horticultural library. our volunteer and our docent program, our free guided walks for visitors, our community events and classes, our programs for families with young children. just quickly, in addition, we also fund $400,000 a year for curatorial work and voluntary contributions to the city to
support the hiring of an 11th gardener. lease and management agreement is important because it sets the framework for how the botanical garden society and the rec and park department will continue to work together for years to come. i urge your support thank you very much. >> thank you very much. >> and don, our board chair sends his apologies. he was here at start of the meeting, but he had to get on a plane to go to his son's graduation. i have a letter of support from him. >> thank you. tracy, mary pitts. joseph. lawrence pitts. barry galvin. >> good morning. >> good morning. >> i was asked last night to come speak to you. my name is tracy thatcher, the founder of flower and designs and i an educator and i teach
botany, organic gardening and soil. i am a child docent and adult docent as well. i am strongly in favor of this lease agreement. and i just want to say, as far as the children go, i probably do about three tours a week, and now we're extending our enrichments, our classes throughout the summers as well. and i am joining up with that as part of the redwood walk with the children too. i do weekends to the tourists and adults that come through. it's wonderful. i love it. i was listening to the other people, and i don't like the fees. i see a lot of tourists turning away because of the fees and it almost breaks my hearts because they should see our garden. it's a beautiful garden and
what people don't realize that i told the children and the parents that come through with the children is that all of these plants are brought in. it is a museum. it's a plant museum. so everything within here in san francisco is brought in from around the world. this lease is very important for continuing the education of children and the adults. you would be surprised how many people don't even know that lettuce has a flower and needs seed and this is important and i start from the soil-up and i start educating the children at the gardens. and i also take it into the schools. so i am doing both. i am doing, as much as can i can regard to plants and educating. i take classes at the garden, enrichment classes that ch are free for me because i'm a docent, but pay to take classes
that the public can and i am a parent of two as well. i support this lease and i am glad that many you came to the garden yesterday. it was wonderful. the warmer was amazing and thank you for hearing me and please reconsider the fee, if that is in this discussion at all. thank you. >> thank you. >> mary, joseph, lawrence, barry. >> good morning, commissioners. i want -- >> could you speak into the mic, please. >> sorry. >> thanks. >> my name is mary pitts a long-term resident of san francisco and volunteer at the botanical garden for 15 years and i'm currently a trustee there. i have seen firsthand as a volunteer, but more
important as a parent with raising children in san francisco, going to the botanical garden and enjoying what was there, but seeing it develop beautifully over the 40 or more years that i have been here. yes, we love the trees in the botanical garden. the san francisco botanical garden at strybing arboretum, but some of those trees are there because the botanical garden society, funded by the society and we very much appreciate the cooperation that we have from the city and from the parks and recreation to help make the garden as good as it can be and better and world-class. some of the trees that are there were not there when my children were tiny. i bring my grandchildren there to see them, and something like the handkerchief tree, which is